Cold sores are common viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). The virus can be spread through close contact such as kissing or touching blisters of an infected person. In addition, sexual acts increase your risk of contracting the virus. When you catch the virus, cold sores commonly form outside your mouth or at the corner of the mouth. The condition often lasts within 2 weeks or longer, so you must suffer from uncomfortable symptoms. Understanding Dos and Don’ts of fighting cold sores may help you deal with them easily.
Cold sore risk factors
There’s no cure for cold sores, so blisters can come back often. When the virus enters your body, it lives dormant in the nerve cells and can be reactivated by triggers. Thus, you should watch out these following risk factors, including:
- Weakened immune system
- Poor diet
- Hormonal changes (pregnancy, menstruation)
- Sun exposure
- Weather changes
- Infections, cold or fever
- Autoimmune diseases (diabetes, lupus, or arthritis)
- Sharing personal items or eating utensils
Because cold sores are a highly contagious infection, you also spread the virus to other parts of the body if you don’t wash your hands. Remember to wash your hands after touching blisters.
Cold sore symptoms
Generally, people have no symptoms even when they have the HSV. They only know they’ve had the virus if cold sores appear or are spread to their partners. The primary infection is more severe and painful than other outbreaks. It often lasts nearly 2 weeks with some symptoms:
- Tingling, burning, itching sensations
- Mouth or tongue pain
- Lip swelling
- Painful blisters or sores
- Sore throat
These symptoms may also return if you suffer from other outbreaks. Luckily, cold sore outbreaks are less severe than the first attack.
The Dos and Don’ts of removing cold sores
Even though there is no cure for HSV infection, knowing Dos and Don’ts with cold sores may help you fight against the infection fast.
1. The Dos of removing cold sores
- Keep cold sores clean. Keeping your cold sores clean can shorten the healing time. You should use a cotton wool to dry them carefully.
- Use isolated face and body towels. Cold sores can be spread easily, so it’s necessary to separate face and body towels. Besides, make sure everyone in your family knows your items to prevent contracting the virus.
- Apply antiviral creams. ProsurX is one of the best antiviral creams for cold sores. It contains powerful antiviral ingredients approved by FDA that can help remove fever blisters fast. Moreover, ProsurX destroys the virus in deep skin layers, which prevents it from coming back well.
- Take antiviral medications. Acyclovir, Valtrex or Famvir are available for treating the HSV infection. If you experience chronic cold sores, suppressive therapy may be essential. You must take antiviral medicines daily for a while time to reduce the regular of cold sores.
- Take pain killers. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen are pain killers used to lessen pain of a cold sore.
- Eat foods that’s high in lysine. Lysine is an amino acid that can help reduce the number of cold sore outbreaks. It also shortens the healing process. So, you should add more lysine foods to treat the HSV infection and prevent it from recurrences. Peas, lentils, beans, lean meat, sardines, salmons, soya beans, fruits and green leafy vegetables should be added.
- Take lysine and vitamin supplements. Vitamin supplements such as vitamin B, E, C and zinc may heal your skin. Besides, lysine supplement inhibits the growth of the virus. So, these supplements work well to prevent HSV infection from spreading and coming back. However, if you have kidney disease, high in cholesterol, you shouldn’t take lysine. Ask your doctor before taking it.
- Boost the immune system. Weakened immune system is an important trigger of cold cores. Poor diet, medications, and unhealthy lifestyle may lead to weakened immune system. Thus, try to eat more healthy foods and do exercise to boost the immune system.
- Learn to deal with stress. Take deep breath, do yoga or Tai Chi to manage your stress. Also, getting enough stress is an effective way to reduce it.
- Protect your lips. Because sunlight can trigger a cold sore outbreak, you should keep your lips out of the risk factor. Apply lip balm with SPF before going out to reduce recurrence. Besides, too dry lips may lead to crack and bleed, so you need to protect your lips with Vaseline. Remember to wash your hands after applying.
2. The Don’ts of removing cold sores
- Touch or scratch cold sores. Touching or scratching cold sores will spread them to another parts. It’s important to avoid these physical contact during treatment time.
- Kiss or have oral sex. It’s an ideal method to transmit the virus. If cold sores are spread through oral sex, an infected person may develop genital herpes.
- Eat acidic or Arginine foods. While acidic foods irritate your cold sores, Arginine foods worsen the HSV infection. Chocolate, Coke, beer, peanut or lemon should be limited.
- Use lipstick. Lipstick increases the contamination of cold sores, so you should stop using it when having the infection.
- Keep your toothbrush after a cold sore. Moisture in the bathroom prolongs the life of the virus. Keeping an old toothbrush may spread the virus back on your lips.
Cold sores can be reactivated by lots of triggers if you shouldn’t take care of your health. Dos and Don’ts give you more useful tips to remove a cold sore rapidly and prevent it from coming back.